Tuesday, June 22, 2010

home again, my friends

Indeed, we are in Minnesota.

The last week was crazy busy between the online classes, packing and saying goodbye. Did I mention the party the ambassador gave for all of the Fulbrighters, coming and going? A great opportunity to see the folks who were still in Dhaka. Then there was a Fulbright seminar at the American Center where the younger scholars presented their research.

And lunch with my officemate after the Fulbright seminar, and a different lunch with so many of my colleagues, at Cinnamon, of course.

I didn't take pictures at Tracey's sweet goodbye party, but this is one of us after the boys went to one of their proms.

Leaving was --- I don't know what to say, so maybe I'll just leave it at that. Landing was complicated by being very sick for a week at home, but now I'm easing back in to a previously familiar place. Not sure where I'm going from here, not back to the old blog and it doesn't seem right to continue notes from Dhaka when I'm just not there. I'll figure it out and find a forwarding address. cheers.

Monday, June 7, 2010

post #200 from Dhaka

that went by pretty quickly.

just some random thoughts about today.

news in Dhaka is all about the fire and the building that collapsed earlier in the week. feels like the whole city could sink into the ground water (which dropped several meters in the past year. not centimeters. meters).

hot. humid. sticky. but no rain today.

slow start to the day. woke up at 4:30 for no good reason. usually the call to prayers doesn't wake me anymore but I guess I was done sleeping.

somebody wanted pancakes for breakfast, before his last final exam. ok. some days are like that.

needed to get presents today. I really do not like to shop. so I did all the shopping in one day.

three stores, 2 CNGs, 2 rickshaws, 2 hours of traffic, one nasty accident where I heard the car hit the rickshaw and I saw the crumpled mess. somehow the people were ok.

too dehydrated to go to the last water aerobics class. sorry to miss the get together afterwards. but some days are like that.

online classes opened. one goof-up -- I wrote quizzes and saved them carefully in the question library. I opened quizzes with all the restrictions and dates and times, and forgot to add in the questions. fortunately someone tried the quizzes first thing in the morning (7pm here) and immediately told me that the syllabus quiz worked fine (not a new quiz) but the other one she tried had no questions. got that fixed. in spite of being in the dark, no electricity. there are always more outages when it's reallly hot.

lost my watch. I know it was between 4 and 5pm. apparently I look at my watch quite a bit. mostly I need it to remind me I've put the water on to boil or I'd completely forget to turn it off. I do 30 minutes of water boiling every morning.

that's about it. tomorrow I'll be at BRAC and say good-bye there. tomorrow night the new cello owner will come to pick it up. Wed the apartment gets cleaned and we'll do the walk through. Wed and Thursday I'll have a lot to do with my online classes with their first deadlines. Wed night we'll get together with friends. working on the packing a bit each day.

long day.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

June days

A pretty random walk through my last week or so...

The parent advisory committee at the American International School - Dhaka (AIS-D) for this year. I was one of the 10th grade parent reps even though I pretty much knew only one tenth grade student when I started. I learned a lot about parenting in Dhaka and what the issues in an international high school are. Met a lot of people that I wouldn't have known otherwise.

Took me a long time, but all of the laundry issues were eventually resolved, including ironing. Some folks in a little nook down the street iron our clean laundry and return it in tightly compressed packages.

Good-bye to the seniors. What a sense of community when there are kids from pre-K to 12th grade all in one place!

Fruits of the week: mangos, pineapple and lychee! Ok, 10 mangos in a milkshake are not good for one's tummy. And 200 lychees are too many to peel before they start to go bad.

And the best part of the last few weeks: having both of my kids here with me! Shaked and I did get to spend quite a few nice afternoons (in between the frequent downpours) at the pool.

And this is Matan before his second prom...

Now I have to figure out how to pack everything we want to take into 4 suitcases and not go too much over the very tight weight limit. By this time next week, we'll be in Chicago.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

a very long time ago

and it seems, in a remote universe, there were list-servs that seemed to function as today's social networking systems do. one of these was parent-l out of a university in Australia. I don't know when I joined that group, but it was sometime between 1991 and 1994 since I know I was not connected for Shaked's first year and I was when Matan was born. so this group of mamas (way before mama-blogging) was pretty much into attachment parenting and I found support there day and night. since I lived in Israel, it was truly helpful to find people in my time zone more or less. not everyone lived in north america. there are still traces -- we made a quilt for Bonnie who died in 1997, there were t-shirts and photo albums. but this week I was caught off guard since I hadn't really kept up with anyone from the group, to see that Katie Granju's son Henry died. reading through the comments there are, of course, many many people I don't know, but there are also traces: dawn h-s and petra and aimee and others.

not sure where I'm going with this. it was ironic that facebook was banned for now, but the earliest internet connections are still somehow viable. added to the sadness of Henry's death was that there was a second student suicide this week at Matan and Shaked's high school in MN. while they're currently somewhat cutoff from info, I'm hearing about it through the parent information emails that I get from the school.

main point: I need to hug those kids and talk to them and listen to them. I think I told Shaked every hour how glad I was to see her here with me. now she can picture where Matan and I have been and got a little bit of the experience.

we may not have spent as much time poolside as we thought we'd get, but I think her experience was incredibly rich for having the internship that she did. stressful, true, but she saw so much and was able to contribute to the project with the data she gathered on those site visits.

ok, I'll open a different post to catch up this week.

no Facebook connection

It's a very disconcerting feeling -- not to be able to link to an article in the NYT and share it with folks on Facebook (the article I wanted to share was Amos Oz's article on the Israeli raid on the flotilla). We're cut off from the outside world and from our friends here. The newspaper today says the Bangladeshi government office is waiting for a reply from Facebook to its request to remove offensive pages. Looks like this could be a long wait. It's certainly a learning experience.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

live-blogging, poolside

Have to capture some of the wonder! Sun, breeze, water, fruit bowl with pineapple and mango, cold coffee, wireless... jumping in the water occasionally. two online classes opened today, just for the students to have a look. class won't officially start until next Monday. waiting for Shaked to make her way here from a site visit that she didn't know was going to be on-her-own! so she texts for some directions...

low key day -- got the wash done and 22 pieces sent out to be ironed (for 88 taka, about $1.25). the kids are getting used to having t-shirts ironed. finished more quizzes for the new class. went to the commissary for the last purchases and closed out the account. will have to pick up the deposit check sometime next week. picked up some pants Shaked had shortened and found Bangladesh t-shirts, maybe for presents? Matan was debating getting a "I heart Dhaka" t-shirt. Maybe too late, they've been on sale at the school, but it might be done. The other t-shirts just say Bangladesh or spring celebration -- less of a commitment, I think.

Can't believe Shaked is leaving Friday night already. Or that we'll be in Chicago next Saturday night! Since we aren't planning to go out of town, it's actually pretty low stress. I'll start packing when Shaked's stuff is all out of the little room! Oh she just called for more directions. She should be here soon. Signing off.

Monday, May 31, 2010

closing down

The desk is cleared at work, but I'll probably return next week for a final good-bye. Just couldn't quite do it yesterday.

It's raining, just like when we arrived in August. No real reason to go out this morning. Have to work on packing, on writing quizzes for the online classes opening tomorrow. Shaked's site visit for today was cancelled. Matan went off to school on his bike in a raincoat and with plastic bags lining his knapsack. We'll meet him at school for a banquet tonight celebrating extra-curricular activity participation.

Feeling pretty cutoff about Facebook. Turns out that it's more about the current prime minister getting pissed off about cartoons about her government, than anything about Mohammad. I suspect she's just lost the young base in the country -- there were protests at the universities yesterday. So much for a liberal, modern, secular and digital Bangladesh!